English writer CS Lewis once observed: “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.”
For those of you who have endured the heartache of spending hours and hours on submitting a Request for Proposal (RFP) only to be rejected, there are lessons to be taken from the above quote.
When you consider that the average RFP success rate is 5%, perhaps you shouldn’t be too disillusioned. For every 20 RFP submissions, you are likely to only win one of them.
What’s key, then, is how you dust yourself off and get back on the proverbial horse again. What lessons can you take from a failed RFP that will enhance your chances on the next one?
Importantly, don’t just rush onto the next one. Because completing RFPs is such a time-consuming project, there could be a tendency to forget and move onto the next. However, taking the time for a proper debrief is crucial.
It will be well worth the effort to contact the client and ask for an analysis of what went wrong. If you have a personal contact that could help, great, but if not, send a respectful mail, acknowledging that you appreciate their decision and thanking them for considering your company in the first place.
Once you have had a response, get all the SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) that contributed to the RFP into one room and analyse everyone’s performance. Rather than launch into a tirade, provide some constructive feedback as to where there were shortcomings and how you can improve.
Did your quote come in too expensive? Did you miss out key details in submitting the RFP? Did you undersell your company? Or perhaps even oversell it? Did you overwrite and fail to acknowledge and address their needs?
A step-by-step breakdown of your RFP will help you hold onto best practices, rid yourself of the worst, and put your company into prime position when the next proposal comes around.
For guidance and advice on submitting RFPs, getting a ‘critical friend’ to review your document pre or post submission and other best business practices, get in touch with one of our friendly team today.